Urges Administration to Conduct Thorough Review of U.S. Military Aid to Baku
WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, called for a “Leahy Law” investigation into reports that the Azerbaijan armed forces, which annually receive millions of dollars in U.S. military aid, committed gross violations of human rights during Baku’s April 2 offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh, reported the Armenian National Committee of America.
In remarks during an Armed Services hearing Thursday on the National Defense Authorization Act, Rep. Sanchez noted that she has reviewed credible allegations that units of the Azerbaijani military have committed gross violations of human rights. “I believe that these blatant human rights violations warrant action on our part to direct our Secretary of Defense to work with our Secretary of State on an investigation on possible human rights violations. And I believe the U.S. should conduct an investigation on whether the ‘Leahy Law’ is being violated by the Azerbaijani military,” stated Rep. Sanchez. “We, the United States, we are a leader on human rights and we cannot afford to support militaries that commit human rights violations.”
In her remarks, Rep. Sanchez cited sharp criticism of Azerbaijan’s human rights record and called attention to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev’s pardon and praise for Ramil Safarov, who axe-murdered an Armenian officer while he slept during a NATO peace-keeping training program in Hungary. Rep. Sanchez’s statement accompanied an amendment that she submitted, but later withdrew for procedural purposes.